The Associated Press is reporting that former government whistle blowers, including a former official at Sunmount in Tupper Lake, want even tougher oversight programs than the one Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to protect people with disabilities in state care.
Susan McLaughlin, who was a consumer advocate for the former state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, recalled a disabled client at the Sunmount facility in the Adirondacks who in 2004 had his fingernails cut so short that all his fingers bled.
She wrote top agency officials in 2005 attempting to report 15 specific cases of illness, injury or death of disabled people in state care and what she described then as “systemic problems.” She later sued after she was terminated following 35 years with the state.
“They should take the top third of the administration right off the top,” McLaughlin said, adding she got many anonymous calls from direct care staff who feared losing their jobs, so she would report it. “And you need to bring in new people with a different philosophy.”